Malaysia to suspend recruitment of foreign workers

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 19 (IANS) Malaysia will suspend the hiring of foreign workers, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced on Friday, a day after the government announced an agreement to recruit thousands of Bangladeshis.

Hamidi said the measure will remain in place till the government has reviewed the two-tier levy programme for foreign workers.

The authorities, according to Hamidi, are studying the personnel re-hiring programme to prevent an excess of foreigners flooding the job market, and those who are working illegally in the country will be detained and deported, Efe news reported.

He said the government plans to postpone the intake of foreign workers till it had identified the exact need of Malaysia’s industries, in an informal meet with military personnel.

Hamidi urged the youth to take up jobs currently held by foreigners.

His statements come after Malaysia and Bangladesh on Thursday announced an agreement to allow absorption of 1.5 million Bangladeshi nationals by Malaysian firms in the next three years.

Following the announcement, which drew criticism from Malaysian trade unions, Human Resource Minister Richard Riot said it only referred to Bangladeshis who are registered with the Malaysian government as residents in the country.

Each year, thousands of Bangladeshi immigrants travel to Malaysia in search of employment, mainly in construction, plantations or as domestic help.

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